Ultra-nationalists are set to return to Serbia’s parliament in an April 24 election after an absence of several years, boosted by growing discontent with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s pro-European Union stance and austerity policies. They include firebrand Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj, whose popularity in Serbia was boosted by his acquittal last month of crimes against humanity by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Polls indicate Seselj’s Radicals and the right-wing Dveri grouping, which hold pro-Russian and anti-NATO views and demand an end to integration with the EU, will both get over the threshold needed to get into parliament and together could win about 25-30 seats in the 250-seat assembly.
While the ultra-nationalists are unlikely to challenge the prime minister’s strong hold on power, they will use the platform to attack his pro-EU course and fight any concessions he is forced to make during Serbia’s negotiations to join the bloc, which began in December.
Opinion polls suggest Vucic’s Progressive Party is on track to retain its parliamentary majority, but Seselj’s Radicals — who failed to win any seats in elections in 2012 and 2014 — could become the third-largest group in parliament.